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About hatchcliff

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  1. Just to confirm, the one that should work is atari800_4.2.0-1_amd64.deb, which runs on Ubuntu/Debian AMD and Intel 64 bit machines.
  2. Yes, atari800 needs SDL V1.2. The command to install the development files on Linux Mint 20 (and I think all other Ubuntu based systems) is: sudo apt-get install libsdl1.2-dev For some reason I am unable to find this package by searching for "SDL" in the Software Manager - but the above command works.
  3. Yes, the podcast - that's the one. The interview was full of surprises for me. The program was written in assembly code with very little (if any) reliance on special software development tools, and it was pretty much a solo effort - a very impressive achievement. Also, Cathryn claims to have no talent for art. I'm not qualified to judge, but the best 8-bit games look like an art form to me, and I would put Shamus in the top league.
  4. Same here, it's my all time favourite. I called into my local computer shop shortly after it was released. The two boys behind the counter (the owner's sons I guess) were falling over themselves to show me this new game, and they sold it to me within minutes. Me too. I remember reaching the red level with 8 or so spare lives a few times, then losing them all, one after the other, in a pod room that exploded full of enemies as soon as I shot through the gap. With no pause button and no published map it was very challenging. I got to know my way around the black and blue levels well, green not so well, and red I had to explore pretty much at random. I think a game typically took around 20 or 30 minutes, and the increasingly frenetic attacks made it quite exhausting. The Antic interview with Cathryn Mataga is great. She says a lot about how the game was written, with artwork sketched by hand on graph paper, and lots of experimentation to find out what worked well on the Atari hardware. I still enjoy playing Shamus. These days I usually make the blue level, and sometimes green. The only way I ever finished was by running the later levels at half speed on Altirra.
  5. The Raspberry Pi packages have been released. There is a separate one for the new Pi 4 because of major hardware changes. The first time you run the Pi 4 version you have to go to <Display Settings>, <Video mode settings> and turn on <Hardware acceleration> - otherwise sound and graphics are jerky in full screen mode. Hopefully this will be set by default in future releases, but it has to be done by hand for the time being.
  6. The pinion is definitely an essential component although I can't remember exactly what it does. It is probably not missing from your machine, but detached inside the mechanism. I think it may re-engage on the shaft when you put the wheel back, just tightly enough to transmit the drive, but not enough to hold the wheel in place when the machine is operating the right way up. I recall I could make mine work by pressing lightly on the centre of the rotating brass hub with a fingernail - which is maybe equivalent to the gravity effect you have noticed.
  7. I had the same problem. The wheel should be held in place by a small nylon pinion on the far end of the shaft, see pictures here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/203693-atari-1010-hong-kong-unit-help-not-belt/
  8. Wonderful! It’s a pleasure to watch the program solving, and very instructive to see the MADS source code. Thank you very much for sharing it. The performance you have managed to get from the 8 bit Atari is amazing. I got interested in Sudoku earlier this year when a friend told me about his solver and described how to encode the rules of the game in a table of indices (identical to your table “CellIntersect”). I wrote my own solver in C using a brute force recursive search, and was surprised how well it worked. It solves most published puzzles in a fraction of a second, but it depends on a modern machine that can search millions of values per second of course - and is not smart enough to be useful on the Atari. My program always searches the entire tree of consistent values, so as the number of clues in the start position is reduced the solution time rises exponentially. If I understand correctly, the situation is slightly different for human players (and I guess for your program too) and the main challenge is posed by the length of the sequences requiring speculative placement of values. I tried running this extreme 17 Clue Puzzle on your program, and it made very light work of it, solving in only 2.4 seconds. In contrast mine took 5 minutes and searched 1.9 billion moves – definitely a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut! Cliff
  9. Thanks JAC! - this system is superb. I just started tinkering around with assembly code again after a lapse of 30 years, and decided to take a look at the WUDSN IDE. I loaded the 32 bit zero installation distribution on my XP machine, and managed to get one of my original VBI routines running very quickly - I just needed to alter the syntax a little to suit MADS. I was astonished how easy it was to get started. I had expected it would take me several evenings to find my way through the development cycle, but in fact it took about one hour - it's all very intuitive and nicely designed. I still have a lot to learn about the IDE, but I'm looking forward to using it to write some new code. I'm sure this will be hundreds of times easier than it was back in the day with those clunky editors, debuggers and tiny screens - they were great fun at the time of course, but I welcome the improvement. Best Regards Cliff
  10. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to Gunnar and everyone at NOMAM for another great competition!
  11. I’ve just had exactly the same experience! The pulley wheel fell out of my machine because the pinion on the far end of the shaft came adrift. I managed to get the parts out. Inspection with a magnifying glass revealed that the pinion had cracked along its length, on a line between two teeth where the plastic is thinnest. I think it’s designed to be a push fit, so is constantly under tension and prone to fail after a lot of years. I couldn’t see any prospect of making a lasting repair, so I have opted for the same solution as you and have replaced the drive mechanism. Actually, I’ve amalgamated parts from a broken machine with a good case and a working one with a badly discoloured case, to make a nice hybrid (Hong Kong case and Japanese works).
  12. Here is my entry for this year’s competition, Apple Max, in the Atari Turbo Basic PUR category: Apple Max.atr Apple Max Manual.pdf Apple Max Code Description.pdf In this game you play the part of a genetic engineer, designing the genome for a new variety of Atarian apple tree. The aim is to create a tree that produces the maximum possible number of apples. Details are in the manual. I made some changes to the scoring system, so this is a slightly different version to the one that appeared in earlier screenshots. Best Regards Cliff
  13. That happened to my game Nimx too, and I guess to all the games that use the default graphics mode, but it was corrected in the final release - so all is well. The final release (NOMAM14_final2.atr) is here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/221948-basic-ten-liners-contest-2014/?p=2981394
  14. I just finished listening to the interview with Bill Wilkinson. What a special Christmas treat that was - and indeed what a special treat the whole series has been! Thank you Brad, Kevin and Randy for producing these podcasts. I particularly enjoyed hearing Bill's first hand description of Action. Up until 1984 I used Atari Basic and Assembler because they were all I had. I had a lot of fun with them, but at times I found their lack of structure hard going. From 1984 onwards I mostly used Action for its speed and C-like structure - and I thought it was a breath of fresh air. I used it until 1989 when I bought an Acorn Archimedes that I could program in C and my 8-bit era came to an end (temporarily as it turned out). I think that those of us who were captivated by computers in the 1980s will never forget the vibrancy of that era. Neither will we forget Bill and others, whose creative products we enjoyed, and whose books and magazine articles we read so avidly. The experience was life-changing really – totally fun and totally educational! Best Regards Cliff
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